Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris proclaimed the Buccaneers to be the best team in the NFC after their 18-17 win over the St. Louis Rams.
The good thing about the NFL is that he and his team will get a chance to backup his big talk. The Bucs are off to a surprising 4-2 start and quarterback Josh Freeman is looking kind of special.
After the bye week, the Bucs come to the Georgia Dome for a Nov. 7 NFC South Showdown. The Bucs play the Arizona Cardinals next week and have a chance to move into a tie with the Falcons for first place.
Falcons coach Mike Smith was a lot more subdued in his post-game remarks.
Here are the highlights from his post-game media chat:
SMITH’S OPENING REMARKS: “I know it’s a cliché, but you’ve got to play the game for 60 minutes and when you do that you’re going to get an opportunity to get the outcome that you want. I felt like we started fast and were in control of the ballgame the first, second, and fourth quarters. The third quarter was a little bit Halloween-ish in terms of it wasn’t a treat, it was a trick. I thought that our guys played extremely hard for the entire ballgame. They never put their heads down. They showed a lot of resiliency in terms of the adversity that took place there in the third quarter.”
ON RODDY WHITE’S MEGA-GAME: “You saw Roddy make some spectacular catches there, the one handed (catch) on the sideline early in the game. Wonderful play on the two-point conversation. Roddy probably to this point has been our best player on our football team through our first seven games. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. He came into this season in the best shape he’s ever been. He’s working hard and you are seeing the results of that hard work during the offseason out there on the field. “
ON THAT ZANY THIRD QUARTER: “There wasn’t a concern because it’s something that has never happened to us in terms of our football team. As I said, I think it’s a learning lesson. It’s a lesson for us as a team to find out how we can overcome those situations because believe me, when you’re up 21 to three at halftime and then you go down 25-24 when you start the fourth quarter, it says a lot about our guys. I don’t believe that they were over confident one bit. They know it’s a 60 minute game.”
ON THOMAS DeCOUD’S HEAD INJURY: “They would not allow Thomas to come back in the ballgame. Again, I don’t know how, I know it was a head injury. I don’t know what they’re calling it right now. Both he and fullback Ovie Mughelli were out after their injuries. . . I know that both of those guys at halftime were ruled out of the football game.”
ON THE BENGALS MUCH HYPED RECEIVERS: “That’s a very talented group. Both of those wide outs that were out there today are guys that have had great careers. We knew that it was going to be a challenge for us. We knew that they were going to make their plays. Our biggest thing was that we wanted to try to keep the ball with those two guys in front of us and not let them throw it over our head. I think we had mixed results in that regard today.”
ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY: “I thought that the offensive line kept the pocket clean and that’s very important to be successful in throwing the football you’ve got to keep that pocket clean. It’s not necessarily giving up sacks, it’s keeping the pocket clean where the quarterback can step up and go through this progressions. I thought that they did a good job. Again, the run blocking by the offensive line was effective.”